The association of affective temperaments with impairment and psychopathology in a young adult sample

Molly A. Walsh, Amethyst M. Royal, Neus Barrantes-Vidal, Thomas R. Kwapil

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous research has examined the association of affective temperaments, as measured by the TEMPS-A, with DSM bipolar disorders. However, the relation of the TEMPS-A with risk for bipolar disorder remains unclear. The present study examined the association of affective temperaments with psychopathology, personality, and functioning in a nonclinically ascertained sample of young adults at risk for bipolar disorder. Methods: One hundred forty-five participants completed the TEMPS-A, as well as interview and questionnaire measures of psychopathology, personality, and functioning. Results: Cyclothymic/irritable temperament was associated with a range of deleterious outcomes, including mood disorders and impaired functioning. It was negatively associated with agreeableness and conscientiousness, and positively associated with current depressive symptoms, neuroticism, borderline symptoms, impulsivity, and grandiosity. Dysthymic temperament was positively associated with current depressive symptoms, neuroticism and agreeableness, but was unrelated to mood psychopathology. Hyperthymic temperament was associated with bipolar spectrum disorders, hypomania or interview-rated hyperthymia, extraversion, openness, impulsivity, and grandiosity. Limitations: The present study was cross-sectional. Longitudinal studies utilizing the TEMPS-A are needed to better understand the predictive validity of the TEMPS-A for the development of bipolar disorder. Conclusions: Early identification of individuals who fall on the bipolar spectrum may hasten appropriate intervention or monitoring, and prevent misdiagnosis. The TEMPS-A appears to be a useful tool for assessing affective temperaments and bipolar spectrum psychopathology. The results support previous research documenting the association of cyclothymic/irritable temperament with bipolar psychopathology and other negative outcomes. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-381
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2012


  • Affective temperament
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Bipolar spectrum
  • Cyclothymia
  • Irritability


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